By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has showered encomium on the late ex-Governor of the old Ondo State, Evang. Bamidele Olumilua for taking pragmatic efforts to enlist Ondo as an oil-producing State while superintending over its affairs.
The elder statesman, Olumilua, an indigene of Ikere Ekiti, who was the governor of the old Ondo State between 1992 and 1993, died on June 4, 2020, at the age of 80.
Speaking during a commendation service held in his honour in Ado Ekiti, on Wednesday, Fayemi affirmed that the outstanding political will and courageous action was taken by Olumilua while presiding as a governor of the Old Ondo State between 1992-1993, led to revenue breakthrough for the neighbouring state today.
In his tribute at the service held at the palatial Adetiloye Hall in Ado Ekiti, Fayemi said: “one important legacy of the administration of Evangelist Olumilua as a governor was the eventual enlistment of Ondo State as an oil-producing state.
“He worked relentlessly to actualise this. He also facilitated the establishment of the Oil Minerals Producing and Development Commission(OMPADEC) in 1992.
“He had a star-studded team and in fact, his then-Attorney General, Chief Wole Olanipekun(SAN) practically drafted the bill that established the commission. He worked hard to get the commission which has now been replaced by the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) established.
“When the first tranch of N250m accrued to the state as an oil-producing state, Evang Olumilua insisted the money must be put in a dedicated account to pursue his dream of modern urbanisation project of some select towns in the then Ondo State.
“His thought was for the state to be economically competitive, because some towns needed to be deliberately transformed into modern cities where people could work, stay, and enjoy their lives.
“This was commendable and I had seen the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) commended this lofty achievement of Pa Olumilua, which I believed would lead to more revenue inflow to the state”.
Fayemi added that Olumilua was a detrabilised leader, saying not even agitation for the creation of Ekiti by his kinsmen could sway him as a sitting governor, which he said some misinterpreted to mean an act of betrayal of trust.
“What we are doing today is a celebration of life and importance of Pa Olumilua in Ekiti State and Nigeria, because he had left an intimidating legacy and he will continue to live in the minds of the people.
“Bamidele Olumilua belonged among great men during his lifetime. He was cerebral and had high oratorical prowess
His time was not only eventful, but his legacies were superb and efforts must be made to sustain them”.
In his short sermon, a man of God, Pastor Ola Omoseebi, advised Nigeria leaders to take a cue from the lifestyle of Olumilua whom he said was humble, peaceful, and transparent.
He said”leaders must shun materialism, arrogance, and corruption that had been the bane of leadership in this country.
“Pa Olumilua was not materialistic, neither was he arrogant. He was close to the rich and poor and never discriminated against anyone. He was modest in lifestyle and that was a good legacy for all of us.
Dignitaries at the event were: Governor Fayemi, a family of the deceased, led by the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua, Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, the first lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, and the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.
Others included: Secretary, Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, members of the State Executive Council, All Progressives Congress(APC) leaders, Corporate organisations and businessmen.